Monday, December 14, 2009

Ten minutes till SHOW-TIME!

I have a quick, "ten minute 'till show-time" routine that I thought might be of interest for those of you who are directing or performing on stage.

1. Do I need to visit the restroom?
2. Is my cell phone on vibrate?
3. Is my music in order?
4. Are all the repeats, key and meter changes highlighted?
5. Can I see the director?

If you are directing, this might be a good idea to remind your performers of these.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

(Be sure to listen to podcast, musicteachers911, available free from the iTunes store)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It was all the keyboard's deFAULT!

Last night, I went to a local jazz club to hear a friend play with his nine piece combo. I was also hoping that I could even get in a little swing dancing.

I had barely got through the door when I was warmly greeted by him and the band. OK, maybe a little TOO warmly. Seems that the pianist never showed up, and they were hoping that I would sit in with them on a keyboard that was kept at the club.

Since I was there anyway and genuinely love playing with good bands, I agreed. I had never heard of the brand or model of the keyboard, so I turned the volume down and touched a key.

Yup, sounds like a piano to me. Show time!

Everything was going smoothly for about the first 20 minutes. Then something happened.

I am not sure how, but I guess I must have been watching the music more than the keys. I am guessing that I overshot the keys and unintentionally touched a control button on the programming pad. All of the sudden, the keyboard sounded very strange. The best way to describe it is to say that it sounded like the background track of an old science fiction movie!

OK, we're in the middle of a song, I have a solo coming up in about 30 seconds and I need to get this puppy back to sounding like a piano ASAP!

Luckily, this was not my first rodeo. Years of experience has taught me that most keyboards default to a piano sound when they are first turned on. I frantically looked for a power button and pressed it twice.

After about three seconds, it was back to the default piano setting just in time for the piano solo.

Even though it was my fault, it was the keyboard's default that save me.

good gigging!

Larry Marra